Wednesday, January 28, 2009

King George VI Memorial Ground

The Sarawak Stadium in Kuching built in time for World Junior Soccer cup and saw Brazil team in action.

Modern Indoor Stadium (Stadium Perpaduan) at Petra Jaya, Kuching with the old and new Sarawak Stadia in the background.

Older generation of Sibuites might remember the King George VI Memorial Ground or affectionately known simply as Padang or Sports Padang to Sibu folks. The sports ground exists no longer but in its place is the present Sibu Town Square.

Who is King George VI?

King George VI (Albert Frederick Arthur George; 14 December 1895 – 6 February 1952) was King of the United Kingdom and the British dominions from 11 December 1936 until his death in 1955. He is the father of the present Queen Elizabeth.

There are a number of geographical features, roads, and institutions named after George VI in London and around the world. These include King George Hospital in London; King George VI Highway and King George Station in Surrey, British Columbia; George VI Sound in Antartica; and the King George VI Chase, horse race in the United Kingdom.

In 1955, several years after his death, a statue of the king in his Garter robes was erected just off the Mall and Carlton Gardens. It was announced in 2005 that a statue of his consort Queen Elizabeth would join his at that location towards the end of 2008. Another statue of the King can be found in the Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens.

Old timers would remember the place as a venue for many sports meets such as the Annual Inter-House, Inter-School and even Inter-Divisional Sports Meet. Many races were held and many sports records were also broken here.

It was even the venue for remote controlled plane and kite flying sessions as well as bicycle races. There was a case whereby a cyclist (a secondary student) died after substaining head injury following a bicycle race accident. The padang was even used by some as a venue for dating.

The Ground was later rechristened Padang Sukan Tun Datuk Patinggi Tuanku Bujang following Independence. Today it has made way for development of Sibu Town Square and is replaced by Stadium Tun Ahmad Zaidi at Bukit Lima Road.

I have a very old photo of the padang area before it was built which shows belian plank walk leading to the Malay Kampungs. I will try to scan and post it here later.

The Sibu Town Square with Wisma Sanyan in the background (site of the former King George VI Memorial Ground)

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